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2012 November 15 Thursday
Liberal Policies To Cut Demand For Low Skilled Labor?

How to cut the demand for low skilled immigrant labor? The best policies to achieve this goal have to be policies that make sense to the political left because they can pass into law with support of Democrats. Obamacare provides an example of a policy that accidentally will cut demand for low skilled immigrant labor. Toward that end here are some proposals:

Raise the minimum wage. Employers will use less low skilled labor overall. Plus, they'll favor citizens because they won't save money by hiring illegals.

Help unions organize industries that employ lots of illegal aliens. Unions will keep out competition.

Credential requirements for more occupations, especially occupations that employ lots of illegals. It is easier to get certified for an occupation if you are already here and speak good English.

Stronger racial preferences for blacks in lower paid occupations. Given them a competitive advantage against illegal aliens.

Can you think of any additional liberal ideas for how to cut demand for low-skilled illegal immigrant labor?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2012 November 15 07:52 PM 


Comments
Mike M said at November 15, 2012 9:32 PM:

Sure, pass a law that forces employers to buy health insurance for employees. That will reduce the demand for all low skilled employees and make it virtually impossible for young blacks to get a job.

YIH said at November 16, 2012 6:52 AM:

Randall: ''Raise the minimum wage. Employers will use less low skilled labor overall. Plus, they'll favor citizens because they won't save money by hiring illegals.''
LOL. It's called ''paying under the table'', i.e. cash. No withheld taxes, no ''minimum wage'' issues. You hire Jose hanging out in front of Home Depot to do your landscaping, he does it, you hand him a $20 and he splits. Meanwhile his girlfriend Juanita and her three kids get SNAP, Medicaid and are on the Section 8 waiting list.

daveg said at November 16, 2012 7:51 AM:

Paying under the table is harder than you think. It is virtually impossible for a large organization. For example, 7-11 or motel 6 are not going to start paying under the table. They just can't have that much cash floating around - the employees will steal it.

So, your claim that this policy is would be ineffectual is unfounded.

Another way to look at it - if the business community screams about it, which it will, then it will have an effect.

Black Death said at November 16, 2012 7:57 AM:

Like most things liberals dream up, these are all bad ideas.

Raising the minimum wage. Employers respond by increasing automation or hiring illegals "off the books." Youth unemployment rate, currently around 17%, increases.

Help unions organize. Employers respond by increasing automation or moving jobs to right-to-work states or off-shore. Prices rise. Unemployment increases. (BTW, Hostess just showed the beneficial effects of unionization - 18,000 workers lose their jobs).

More credentialing. Licensing boards for busboys, maids, agricultural workers or laborers? This is just plain goofy.

Racial preferences for blacks? Really? To give them advantages over illegal workers, most of whom are Hispanic and some of whom are also black? And what about white American citizens? Too bad for them. This is double goofy.

Like most liberal "fixes" (forced busing and No Child Left Behind to improve education, subsidized mortgages and liar loans to increase home ownership, etc.), these ideas only make things worse. The best way to deal with illegal immigration is to enforce the laws already on the books. Period.

daveg said at November 16, 2012 8:58 AM:

Please think before you start typing.

Raising the minimum wage. Employers respond by increasing automation or hiring illegals "off the books." Youth unemployment rate, currently around 17%, increases.

Increasing automation is GOOD. That is the whole point. You don't have to provide medical care, education or jails for a machine. The people who do the automation are performing high functioning tasks, adding real value and quality jobs.

Off the books payment will only happen in a very limited number of cases - small fly-by-night operations. The large scale low wage employers will have to comply and they will do so be hiring more competent employees who can better justify the higher wage.

James Bowery said at November 16, 2012 9:43 AM:

Minimum wage laws mean nothing. The category "self-employed" is exploding and that means people who can work 60 hours a week and make an average of $3/hour.

It happening on a massive scale.

Black Death said at November 16, 2012 10:59 AM:

Of course automation is good for society as a whole - I never said it wasn't. But the point of the post is what happens at the lower end. Society does benefit from the automation of routine tasks. But what happens to all the toll takers, bank tellers and telephone operators who lose their jobs? They'll be just fine if they go to school and get MD's or Ph.D.'s in petroleum engineering, but how often does that happen? Increasing automation is a fact of life, but it does put the squeeze on displaced low-wage workers. Not enforcing the laws against illegal immigrants puts a double whammy on them.

I live in a semi-rural area, and, with the harvest just completed, I've seen lots of old, beat up buses carrying Hispanic laborers out in the fields. I wonder who checks to see that they are being properly paid? Where I live, the Republican-dominated local governments turn a blind eye to illegal laborers because their farmer-supporters want them to. The idea that farmers, restaurant owners and other small business owners who already employ lots of "undocumented" workers won't up their hiring of them is absurd.

daveg said at November 16, 2012 2:47 PM:

I concede that farm labor will be the most difficult to control, but there are a significant number of other low paying business that will have to comply with the law including any restaurant that is not a mom or pop operation. Believe me, I deal with that industry and it is very difficult to deal in cash on anything other than a very small scale.

Mthson said at November 16, 2012 3:57 PM:

Black Death:

I think it makes our arguments even more compelling in the eyes of society to change that to:

"And what about White and Asian American citizens?"

For example, in this great NYT article, everybody is siding with meritocracy instead of NAM victim narratives:
Asians' Success in High School Admissions Seen as Issue by Some

tommy said at November 17, 2012 1:49 AM:

Help unions organize industries that employ lots of illegal aliens. Unions will keep out competition.

While a union should theoretically oppose illegal immigration, union leadership doesn't necessarily have the same incentive. The record here is spotty at best.

Abelard Lindsey said at November 17, 2012 8:25 AM:

Just make it expensive to hire low-skill in general. Automation and control system engineers such as myself will figure out ways to automate the jobs and make money as engineering consultants and system integrators. This is actually the silver-lining in Obama's re-election for people like me. We then just need to figure out how to reduce the fertility/birth-rates of the less capable.

Engineer-Poet said at November 17, 2012 2:46 PM:
We then just need to figure out how to reduce the fertility/birth-rates of the less capable.
Paying them to get fixed works with crack addicts, it would probably work with much broader groups than that.
Randall Parker said at November 17, 2012 6:59 PM:

Black Death,

Bad ideas? In a country without a large influx of low skilled workers I would agree. But that's not the country we live in. My proposals have costs. But not treating the problem has bigger costs.

YIH,

daveg is right: Most businesses can not pay off-the-books. That's why many industries with low wages oppose minimum wage hikes. The big pizza chains and hamburger chains can't pay under-the-table.

DirkY said at November 18, 2012 1:19 AM:

Great series of posts. I agree completely. When you pay someone $8 you get all of the benefit of their labor but pay only a tiny fraction of the real cost. Liberals in SF have figured this out already. There the minimum wage is $11 if you provide health benefits, $13 if you don't. As a result the city's black population is dropping like a rock and Hispanic population is flat even as it rapidly grows everywhere else in America.


I second the comment that hiring off the books is not so simple. If your business itself is paid in cash, sure you can pay employees that way. But if you are paid any other way, you take a big risk not reporting it. And if you report revenue but pay off the books, that is called a profit and you get taxed on it.

So yeah, people do commit tax fraud and that does make the minimum wage hard to enforce in certain instances. For the most part, even low wage service jobs are on the books. And we know there are millions of low wage people on the books via Dept of Labor statistics.

Randall Parker said at November 18, 2012 10:01 AM:

DirkY,

Yes, it suddenly dawned on me that the lesser evil is to accept the liberal proposals regarding minimum wages and minimum benefits for low skilled jobs. Our choice isn't between a libertarian utopia and a labor market shaped by left-liberal rules.

Michael L said at November 18, 2012 4:08 PM:

the government and quangos will provide makework "jobs", "internships", "safety nets" and similar feeding troughs to people they like in return for loyalty while preventing the people they don't like from finding work in the private sector because, well, private sector will be gutted by taxes and regulations and also, specifically, hobbled in its ability to hire and hence forced to automate heavily. Oh, and ObamaCare means that those relatively young healthy underemployed people that the liberals don't like will also be forced to cough up a fixed sum per capita "healthcare" tax (payment? fine? whatever) to stay out of jail.


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